Jo's Art History Podcast / 32. Harry Beck: The Man who Designed the London Underground Map!!

Listen on

Episode notes

Welcome back to the Jo’s Art History Podcast!

It’s episode - and this week I sit down with the brilliant Graphic designer Tilly Haley to discuss one of the WORLDS (not just the UK’s) greatest designs!


Although the London Underground opened in the 1860s and it probably worthy of a podcast episode it itself - it is the London Underground Tube Map which is taking centre stage today. Although it had several maps designs during its long duration of operation, the map we use today has been developed from an original design Harry (Henry) Beck. What is even more interesting is Beck was not a designer - but an engineer who worked for the underground and designed his map in his own time.

Although originally knocked back as ‘too radical’, Beck persisted his design would revolutionise how people used the underground - and he wasn’t half spot on!!

Tilly talks us through the design developments of the underground map before, during and after Beck’s time and we celebrate the legacy of this incredible man who single handedly

It isn’t all sunshine and daisies here though - like any good story there are of course a few villains thrown it!

This is a brilliant chat about one of the world’s most iconic maps, which really, isn’t a map at all!


Listen to discover all!!


Henry (Harry) Beck:

History of the London Underground Video I mention:

Hutchinson’s Blog Post we mention:

London Transport Museum Archive:

London 2021 Silver Poster Medals Poster: